Listen, Love, Repeat

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Confession: I love selfies! I love sharing about myself on Instagram and Facebook! I love blogging about me! I’m a pretty self-centered person!

physical-coverThe Blythe Daniel Agency offered me the opportunity to share about “Listen, Love, Repeat” by Karen Ehman.  I got two copies of the book, one to review and one to give away.  I will also have an opportunity to review their SMALL GROUP STUDY GUIDE at the end of November! I have not been paid for my opinion nor do I receive money compensations from any purchases of this book.

Phew. Glad to get the legalities out of the way.

I like reading Christian literature and I tend to navigate towards non-fiction.  I was looking for something to read in between choir and swimming, during dull moments of the day (as if those actually ever happen… ha!), and during the oh so elusive “free time” I envisioned myself having these holidays.

listen-love-repeat-endorsementsI was drawn to the book because of it’s endorsements; I follow Ann Voskamp and Candace Cameron Bure on Facebook.  I had never heard of Karen Ehman before but I like Proverbs 31 ministries.  It made sense to give this book a go.

I started working through a PDF watermarked copy (I live in Alaska and shipping can sometimes take WEEKS) and then through the physical book which is in my purse.  I quickly discovered:

  1. I can’t just pick this book up and set it down at leisure.  If “Jesus Calling” devotionals are like the handful of cookies you grab from the counter on your way out to do life, then “Listen, Love, Repeat” is a steak and potatoes dinner with asparagus on the side.  It was, for lack of a better word, “meaty” and convicting!
  2. I need to be just a tad bit more intentional about my spiritual growth.  I was naïve to think that I could train my mind and spirit in the ways of the Lord in between math club and cub scouts!  If I want to receive the wisdom that Karen imparts in this book, I need to make time for it the way I make my kids have time for their required language arts reading.
  3. It’s so easy to be self-centered when you’re so busy! One of the first areas this book brought conviction in my life was by pointing out how unintentional I have been with my schedule – filling it up with whatever comes up, then running around too busy to make eye contact and connect with the person in front of me. Ouch.
If you're so busy that you can't #listen #love #repeat, you're busier than God intended you to… Click To Tweet

This book is not for you if you a) hate reading b) hate books or c) hate people.family-pic

If you are a mom who wants to connect deeply with your children while shepherding their hearts, this book is for you.

If you are a wife who wants to minister to your husband under this God-given role, this book is for you.

If you are a believer who wants to love people into the Kingdom and point them to Jesus, this book is for you.

If you are kind of dense (like me) and possibly distracted, and you need more than pretty thoughts about how to love on purpose – then this book is for you.

I absolutely love books that give me practical advice about Biblical views.  Which is why I am doing everything I can to recommend this book without spoiling it for you!  I’m keeping my highlighted copy.  I decided to give the book away in person.

Don’t neglect to grab your copy of “Listen, Love, Repeat”.  Even better, pray about giving a copy away this Christmas or leading a Bible Study with your small group!

Read any good books lately? Share below and God Bless
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Humanism and The Church

Everyone is passionate about making this country – and even the world – a better place.american-flag-1031627_960_720

Many American Christians have only read the Bible verses in a “Jesus Calling” devotional. And these aren’t bad in and of itself, but cherry picking a verse here and there for a few minutes of encouragement is not going to bring about sound theology.

The result is many American Christians love Jesus and others deeply but have no Biblical concept of who Jesus is and who others really are.

  • Humanism says, “God is love.  There’s nothing you can do to make Him angry.”  Scripture says in Hebrews 3:7-11:So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice,
        do not harden your hearts
    10 That is why I was angry with that generation;
        I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
        and they have not known my ways.’
    11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
        ‘They shall never enter my rest.’If we look at God’s love and at the same time ignore what Scripture has specified make Him angry is to completely ignore that He is Holy (righteous, pure, without sin while still being perfectly loving).jesus-1740416_960_720
  • Humanism says, “Jesus is love.  He came to show love and to do good things for people.  He was uplifting and kind wherever He went.”  But Scripture says in John 2:13-19 that he flipped over tables and literally whooped people in the temple courts.  He called Pharisees white-washed tombs in Matthew 23:27.  And in John chapter 4 he tells a completely strange woman, paraphrase mine, that she has slept with so many men she didn’t even bother to marry her present lover.  Aside from confirming what Scripture says about God in the first point, we need to realize that above being love and doing good, Jesus was honest.  Because He is Holy.  For Jesus to be so loving that he is permissive of sin would have made him out to be a fraud.
  • Humanism says “God’s Word is here to make you feel better.”  Scripture says in Hebrews 4:12-13:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.The Bible ain’t no “Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul”!  It’s there to show us and judge down deep in us, causing a divide between our our opinions and His will!

I can keep going.  “God is love so he’d never send a homosexual to hell.”  He doesn’t; Scripture says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God, and it’s a lifestyle we need to repent from if we choose to accept salvation. Etc, etc…

Naturally a redeemed heart wants to help others.  It is a logical consequence for a new believer to want to change the world!  But here are my parting thoughts:

  1. The purpose of Christ, and the Church, was never “to make the world a better place.”  It was an establishment of His Kingdom where those who accept His forgiveness are redeemed from hell.   True Utopia is found in heaven alone, true restoration of humanity is found in Jesus alone, and true faith is found in the Bible alone.  Anything else is false doctrine.  His church is His Kingdom, and this is the ONLY WAY IN.
  2. To hide God’s holiness from people under the guise of His love – to keep people comfortable in their unrepentant state – is to pretend we are more merciful than God.  It is His truth that sets people free, not your tolerance or acceptance.  And however you choose to treat people, truth needs to be your compass!  Because we can seriously love people straight to hell – and that’s not real love at all.
  3. The Holy Spirit didn’t establish a welfare program with the new church in the book of Acts. It empowered unschooled, ordinary men to flip theology upside down!  To preach in the face of persecution, to love and forgive in the face of death, and to allow God to do what only God in His power can do; change human hearts.cross-1400020_960_720

What this nation needs is repentance, not reform.  A revival can only start in America when each professed believer humbles themselves before God, takes Him at His Word, and allows the Holy Spirit’s light to shine through them in truth.

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A Full Fisted Grab

Give-away mentioned below! Not through fancy things like Rafflecopter.  You don’t need to share, like, or invite anyone.  Just read and answer for a chance to win an NKJV Large Print Journaling Bible!

bibleThe Blythe Daniel Agency offered me the opportunity to review and give away one of their newly released, hard cover, “Journal The Word” Bible.  Published by Thomas Nelson in September of this year, this is sooooo nice! It’s easy on my eyes and has so much creative space.  It’s perfect for personal use or as a gift – which is why I’m choosing to give my copy away!

Confession #1: When I think of “journaling”, I go back to being a fifth grader, writing all my deepest and truest secrets on composition book after composition book.  And I can’t think of a more transparent relationship with God than to do that in His Word.  Literally.

Confession #2: I spend a lot of these days white-knuckled.  I have such a tight fist, whether it’s due to pain or anger… Somewhere along the way the line between mental and physical health have gotten blurred…

I can’t tell where a mental health symptom begins and an RA symptom ends.

But when I’m not white-knuckled I’m exhausted, ready to sleep for days… It feels like I’m only a shadow of my self; I can’t seem to find the pleasure or inspiration to write, dance, or run.

My husband is a great source of help and comfort... unfortunately, he's not home Mondays through Fridays.
My husband is a great source of help and comfort… unfortunately, he’s not home Mondays through Fridays.

There’s no incentive to get out of bed.

Guilt immediately sets in because I love homeschooling my children.  I love seeing what they’re learning and learning a little right along with them.  I enjoy their company and their insight.  I celebrate their progress!  And yet…

I have been praying, from the very depths of my soul, for God to help me FEEL better.  I feel like my faith is grasping at air.  I hear songs of worship, and the image it brings to mind is of a soul that is sated with the presence of God…

she reads truth… I feel like the ugly duckling of His Kingdom, eating crumbs off the floor.

It reminds me of the Samaritan woman, who basically told Jesus, “Ain’t no shame in that! I’ll eat crumbs off your floor if it turns Your favor towards me.”  And that’s how I know I’m not alone, and probably in good Biblical company.

I do have some suggestions to share.  Not because I’ve mastered this season in my life, but because I know we need to now more than ever:

The darker it gets, the tighter you grab on to God's #word! #thomasnelson #bible #journal Click To Tweet

Hear it in the morning, read it at night.  Draw in it. Color it.  Memorize a verse.  Read a whole chapter.  Follow a devotional plan.  Go to church and small group – even if just to listen to the sermon half awake!  Whatever you do, this is NOT the time to fall away!

I wake up in the mornings to the sound of children (and it never feels pleasant, no matter what it is they’re doing) and I try to listen to the Abide prayer app, but my mind wanders…

Then I read a devotional from the First 5 App.  I try to answer the questions and comments before I physically get out of bed.  Then Facebook shows up and I’m scrolling mindlessly …and THAT snaps me out of bed because I don’t want to deal with that casserole of nonsense before my first cup of coffee.

After breakfast I do morning devotionals with my children out of the She Reads Truth app.  We have been learning about hymns.  My godchildren like to join me for it and we’ve done these devotionals as a “small group” of sorts between both families.  This makes me smile; it reminds me the Holy Spirit is with me – right here.

Godly women are like lionesses to a pack; don't let go of connections because you can't make it alone!
Godly women are like lionesses to a pack; don’t let go of connections because you can’t make it alone!

Then – and by then only – am I ready to open my journaling Bible (provided my children can start doing their school work independently).  Whatever I’m in the mood for.  Sometimes I can only focus on one verse.  Other times I’m making lists.  There are times where all I can do is write out my burdens.  But the point is, I have to warm myself up to God’s Word across 3 hours before I’m even ready to open my Bible.

It’s better than nothing! Jesus shows up and romances me in these small little tid bits of devotionals that get me out of bed.  Don’t give up the search – keep a white-knuckled, full-fisted grab on His truths every day.

Any time spent lifting our eyes up to the hills, is time realizing our help comes from the… Click To Tweet

What helps you keep a tight grasp on His Word?  Answer below for a chance to win an NKJV Journaling Bible (Large Print!) published by Thomas Nelson! 

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